Multiple Motivations for Preposing in Selected Philippine Languages

Michael Wilson Rosero


When we speak of the word order of a given language, we look at transitive clauses with two lexical noun arguments, the A and the O (Thompson n.d.). Philippine languages have been analyzed to have predicate-initial basic word order in which a clause is typically verb-initial, followed by nominal or pronominal arguments. However, while a predicate-initial construction is seen as the typical pattern in any Philippine-type language, there are instances where arguments are placed in pre-predicate position. This movement is called preposing.

A preliminary study of Kana, a Cebuano dialect, has shown that it favors preposed constructions to fulfill certain functions which include but are not limited to: (a) clitic position and movement; (b) setting the scene in a discourse narrative; (c) listing of information; and (d) exclusive contrast. Moreover, the data show preference for the preposing of A-pronominals and predicate-medial word order tendencies. In this paper, we will examine this further, and demonstrate the implications of this preference in the word order of four (4) other Philippine languages namely; Chavacano, Ilokano, Tagalog, and Waray.

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